Keith Packard On Needed DRM Changes For VR HMDs

Written by Michael Larabel in Valve on 28 March 2017 at 07:29 PM EDT. 7 Comments
Earlier this month it was revealed that Keith Packard had begun working with Valve to address DRM changes for Linux VR. He's now commented a bit on the technical approach he's pursuing for better dealing with virtual reality head-mounted displays (HMDs) with the open-source Linux drivers.

He's working on allowing VR HMDs to be directly accessed from Linux VR apps without the windowing system getting in the way as is currently the case. Right now if plugging in the HTC Vive to a system running e.g. the AMDGPU driver, part of the desktop will appear on the headset by default.

Keith is working on Direct Rendering Manager changes for "display resource leasing" to get window managers out of the way or so that HMDs are never exposed to the windowing system. VR applications/games could directly use Linux KMS interfaces for driving the HMD.

For those interested in the technical approach being pursued, Keith has written a blog post outlining some of the current plans.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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